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Arts and Crafts in the Campdens

A walk between Chipping and Broad Campden follows the rise and fall of the Guild of Handicraft.

Distance 2.5 miles (4km)

Minimum time 1hr 15min

Ascent/gradient 83ft (25m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Fields, road and track, 8 stiles

Landscape Farmland, hills, village

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer OL45 The Cotswolds

Start/finish SP 151391

Dog friendliness Suitable in parts but livestock in some fields

Parking Campden High Street or parking area on main square

Public toilets Short way down Sheep Street

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1 From Chipping Campden High Street, walk through the arch next to the Noel Arms Hotel and continue ahead to join a path. Pass some playing fields and at a junction with a road go left into a field and then immediately right to follow the edge of the field parallel with the road.

2 After 600yds (549m), fork right and come to a gate. Follow a drive, walk past a house and then leave the drive to walk ahead to a gate. Pass through into an alley and follow it to pass the Quaker Meeting House.

3 Emerge at the green with the church to your left. At a junction, continue ahead to walk through the village. The road bears left and straightens. After the turning for Blockley, go left down a road marked 'Unsuitable for Motors'. After 70yds (64m) turn right along the drive of 'Hollybush'. Pass through a gate and then another and continue along the left, lower margin of an orchard.

4 Cross a stile, then a bridge and turn sharp right to walk along the right edge of a field, with the stream on the right. Go right to the end of the field to cross the stream and in the next field go straight across, bearing a little right, to a gap. Go up the next field to a stile and cross into a field.

5 Turn left and then go half right to pass to the right of a house. Cross a stile and then go half right to a gate. Go through and go quarter right down to another stile in the corner. In the next field go half right, with Campden church away to the right, to approach a stream near a stone arch.

6 Do not cross the stream but, 70yds (64m) after the arch, turn right through a gate and follow the path as it turns left to a drive. Turn right and follow the drive to a road (Calf Lane). At the road turn right and at the top turn left into Church Street (turn right to visit the church) to return to a junction with the main street.

This walk starts in Chipping Campden, perhaps the finest of all Cotswold villages and extends to Chipping Campden's near neighbour, Broad Campden. Broad Campden does not have a spectacular high street, nor even much of a church, but it does have some exceptionally pretty houses (several of which, unusually for the Cotswolds, are thatched), an attractive pub and a 17th-century Quaker Meeting House, all in a snug, overlooked fold of the Cotswold countryside. It was here, in this idyllic rural setting, that Charles Ashbee set up his Guild of Handicraft.

Born in Isleworth in Surrey, in 1863, Ashbee received his art education at King's College, Cambridge and was apprenticed to Bodley and Garner, a company specialising in Gothic revival architecture. As a consequence he became involved with, and subsequently a leader of, the burgeoning Arts and Crafts Movement, the leading light of which was the poet and artist William Morris. In 1888 Ashbee founded the Guild and School of Handicraft. In its educational programme it laid great emphasis on training in the Arts and Crafts tradition with particular prominence on furniture design.

Ashbee's work shows in its sparseness and restraint all the typical elements of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He also drew public attention to the activities of other artists, notably he promoted the work of the Greene brothers and of Frank Lloyd Wright. In his essay 'Should We Stop Teaching Art?' (1911) he discussed the changing nature of industrial patronage and organisation, reflecting his move towards reconciling the use of industrial methods.

The move to Chipping Campden in 1902 (and later to Broad Campden, where Ashbee converted a derelict Norman chapel into a place to live in 1905) was not an altogether successful one and by 1908 the Guild of Handicraft was no more - having fallen prey to competition from other cheaper producers like Liberty's. Ashbee died in 1942. However, the craft tradition he pioneered has not altogether died out. In Sheep Street in Chipping Campden, where the original Guild shops stood just off the High Street, the silversmiths at David Hart's continue to produce beautiful, handcrafted work in the way that Ashbee would have approved of.

Alec Miller, a guildsman who came to Campden from Glasgow, describes the effect that his first sight of the village had on him; and somehow expresses the guiding principles of the Guild of Handicraft. 'I walked up Campden's one long street entranced and happy - a mile-long street with hardly a mean house, and with many of great beauty and richness... I could not 'read' the history embodied in these stone-built houses, so rich, so substantial and of such beautiful stone.'

While you're there

The famous gardens at Hidcote and Kiftsgate are only a short drive away. If you'd like to visit Shakespeare's birthplace, there is a regular bus service from Chipping Campden to Stratford-upon-Avon, a 45-minute journey. About 4 miles (6.4km) to the south west is Broadway Tower set in a country park overlooking the Vale of Evesham and a favourite haunt of William Morris.

What to look for

Among the many fine houses in Chipping Campden is 14th-century Grevel's House, opposite Church Lane. William Grevel, a wealthy wool merchant, was largely responsible for the church in its current form and it is believed he was the model for the merchant in Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'.

Where to eat and drink

You'll find a good choice of pubs, tea rooms and restaurants in Chipping Campden. Badgers Hall, on the High Street is noted for its excellent teas, or try the Eight Bells, on Church Street if you prefer a relaxing pub.

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